Antoine Griezmann scored a second half equaliser for Barcelona as 10-man Alaves held on for a well-earned point in Liga.
Disaster struck for the Catalans just after the half-hour mark when Gerard Pique’s backpass left Neto vulnerable, with Luis Rioja stealing the ball from the goalkeeper to finish into the empty net.
Alaves remained well organised and difficult to play through until the hour mark, when Jota was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Pique. Barca restored parity moments later as Griezmann made the most of a fortunate ricochet through to clip over Fernando Pacheco.
Barcelona used their man advantage to dominate the closing stages of the contest, but couldn’t find a way through to grab a second goal and three points. The result leaves Ronald Koeman’s side slumped in 12th place in La Liga, eight points adrift of Real Madrid.
'I am worried' - Koeman concerned with Barca struggles
TALKING POINT - Has Miralem Pjanic taken Sergio Busquets’ place?
Even though they failed to turn the match around to claim all three points, Barcelona improved in the second half. Miralem Pjanic was a factor in this, with the Bosnian giving the away side some stability in the centre of the pitch. Sergio Busquets struggled badly in the first half, as he has for much of the season. So has Pjanic taken Busquets in the Barcelona team?
MAN OF THE MATCH - Fernando Pacheco (Alaves)
Barcelona had their opportunities to find the back of the net more than once and so Pachecho had to be in top form for Alaves to claim a point, especially after the home side were reduced to 10 men. The goalkeeper made a number of impressive saves, including a flying save from Messi which saw him start his dive before the ball had even left the Barcelona number 10’s foot. That’s how far he had to stretch to reach it!
Alaves - Pacheco 9, Mendez 7, Navarro 7, Laguardia 6, Lejeune 7, Duarte 7, Jota 4, Battaglia 6, Pina 7, Rioja 7, Deyverson 6. Subs - Joselu 4, Garcia 5, Marin 6, Martin 5, Tavares 6.
Barcelona - Neto 4, Roberto 5, Pique 4, Lenglet 5, Alba 5, Busquets 4, De Jong 6, Dembele 5, Griezmann 6, Fati 7, Messi 6. Subs - Pjanic 7, Dest 6, Pedri 7, Trincao 7, Braithwaite 4.
Alaves' Spanish midfielder Luis Rioja celebrates his goal during the Spanish League football match between Deportivo Alaves and Barcelona
Image credit: Getty Images
31’ GOAL! Alaves 1-0 Barcelona: What a disaster for Neto! Barcelona trail! What has just happened? The goalkeeper miscontrolled a back-pass from Pique, the ball got stuck under his feet and Rioja was quickly on the scene to win the ball and finish into the back of the Barcelona net!
62’ SENT OFF! Alaves have been reduced to 10 men! Foolish from Jota! He was already on a yellow card and he went in high on Pique. Machin looks furious with his player on the touchline.
63’ GOAL! Alaves 1-1 Barcelona: Barcelona are back on level terms, finding the net moments after the sending off of Jota! The ball ricocheted through to Griezmann off Pina and the French striker made no mistake in clipping a clever finish over Pacheco into the back of the net!
Barcelona have now gone four La Liga games without a win for the first time in two years.
Lionel Messi has had 45 direct free kick efforts in his last 41 games in all competitions for Barcelona and scored just one (vs Osasuna, July 2020).